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'Torres key to beating Chelsea again'
April 22, 2008 10:23 IST
Fernando Torres is key to Liverpool's chances of beating Chelsea and reaching a third Champions League final in four seasons, manager Rafael Benitez said on Monday.
Liverpool scored just two goals in their previous semi-final victories over Chelsea in 2005 and 2007, but their manager now possesses a clinical scorer in Spain striker Torres who will lead the attack in Tuesday's first leg at Anfield.
"The team has confidence when players like Fernando Torres are in the team that can score goals," Benitez told reporters of the striker with a tally of 30 in his debut season.
"The players know that sometimes you are not playing well and maybe you will score because of a player like Torres.
"In this case, the team is playing well and we have confidence because we know Torres can create something."
Benitez, who will have captain Steven Gerrard fit again after missing Saturday's win at Fulham with a neck problem, is predicting another tight game and will be happy to take a clean sheet from the home tie.
"The key at the end will be small details. We will have no advantage from having won in the past," he said.
"Both teams have experienced players and I don't think it will be different from the past games."
Benitez said Liverpool will face a similar challenge to previous encounters with Chelsea even though Avram Grant has replaced Jose Mourinho as the London [Images] club's manager.
"I think Avram Grant is doing a good job," he said, pointing out that they reached the League Cup final and are now in the last four of the Champions League and the race for the Premier League title.
"But his team is similar to before. They are playing good football and have good balance in both defence and attack.
"The game will be tight. It will be difficult for both teams. I don't see an open game because they are good in defence and so are we."
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